Up to 15 years ago, physicians were extremely limited in what they could offer acute stroke patients. Not until the FDA approval of clot-busting medications in 1996 were new treatment options available to offer hope to acute stroke patients.
Over time, the availability of these clot-busting medications became more widespread as physicians became more comfortable with the treatment of acute stroke patients.
These intravenous medications, however, are limited to very discrete time windows of up to 4-1/2 hours after the onset of stroke and to patients meeting certain clinical criteria.
In the past 10 years, new minimally invasive techniques and products delivered directly through arteries to the site of clot occlusions have become more available.
Now stroke treatment has advanced once again, and McLaren Flint is setting the standard, thanks to its groundbreaking Interventional Neurology program.
New Program Provides an Edge in Stroke Treatment
“We’re able to offer treatments to appropriate stroke patients that aren’t available at other hospitals in the Flint region or in the McLaren Health System,” says neurointerventionalist and board certified neurologist Luis Arangua, M.D.
McLaren Flint is one of 10 to 15 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. that offers neurointerventional services. One such service offered is acute intra-arterial stroke intervention. This treatment is available to patients who aren’t able to receive intravenous clot-busting medication known as tissue-type plasminogen activator, or tPA, because of medical reasons, because they fall outside the time window for tPA, or because they have had insufficient clinical benefit from IV tPA.
“By making a tiny 1 to 2 mm incision in the skin, we can go through the arteries, either from the leg or arm, directly into the site of clot, in the neck or brain. We use the Mercy Clot retrieval device or Penumbra reperfusion system and lytic medications to break up and remove clots that are preventing blood flow to the brain,” Dr. Arangua says. “These services can lead to life-changing and lifesaving results.”
New Physicians Added with Special Expertise
Dr. Arangua and Andrew Xavier, M.D., who is also a neurointerventionalist and board certified in neurology and vascular neurology, joined McLaren Flint in 2011.
Under the guidance of Drs. Arangua and Xavier, McLaren clinicians are able to help more patients recover from stroke. The physicians also use minimally invasive techniques to treat ruptured and unruptured aneurysms, arterial venous malformations, dural arteriovenous fistulas, intracranial and extracranial stenosis, embolizations of head and neck tumors and spinal vascular malformations or fistulas, and vertebral body compression fractures. Diagnostic services include cerebral and spinal angiography.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer these minimally invasive treatment options with reduced morbidity and mortality and improved clinical outcomes compared to previous treatment strategies,” Dr. Arangua says. “Our staff plays a crucial role in giving our patients the best available and leading-edge treatment options.”
The Interventional Neurology program is available for emergency services, urgent and routine consultations, and referrals. To reach the Interventional Neurology program, call 810-342-5700.